Radio Friends with Paul Pepper

Was my appearance on Radio Friends the first you've heard of me?

If so, then let me introduce myself. The links at the top of this page will tell you everything you'll want to know about me.

I recommend starting with my ABOUT page on the menu bar on the top-right corner.

 

Then you might browse my ARTICLES, also on the top. There's bound to be some articles that you'll find interesting.

My contact information is on the HOME page at the top-left corner.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022 broadcast of Radio Friends -- Listen on KBIA 91.3 FM at 8:50am. (Video will be linked after air- date)

On my third appearance on Radio Friends, we're discussing why your wi-fi may be slow and what you can do about it.

Subscribing to super fast internet, like fiber, is great and wonderful. But if all your devices connect with wi-fi then you may experience slow service. Wi-fi is a big reason speed suffers. And your overall internet speed is limited by your weakest link -- often your wi-fi.

There's several ways to address this.

  • Use Ethernet cabling where you can. High traffic devices like the TV and gaming consoles should be hard-wired.

  • Use wire-line Ethernet repeaters. These gadgets plug into a mains outlet and utilizes your homes electrical wiring. These transceivers aren't as good as Ethernet and are sometimes subject to other issues, but they can work in many cases.

  • Use a wireless mesh system. This approach uses several (three usually) access points strategically located to bring a strong wi-fi signal to all corners of your home.

  • Use 5 GHz where possible. This frequency band has more capacity, is much faster, and enjoys other benefits (and some minor cons) over the older 2.4 GHz frequency.

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I've setup dozens of mesh systems to good effect. If you aren't comfortable getting into the technical weeds in this area, I can help you.

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Monday, March 21, 2022 broadcast of Radio Friends -- Listen on KBIA 91.3 FM at 8:50am. See the video here on Youtube.

On my second appearance on Radio Friends, we're discussing the speed of your computer experience. What are the various factors that contribute to the overall apparent speed of your computer and online experience? I keep it pretty light on the show -- it's only ten minutes after all. But here I can go into far more detail.

Here's what matters:

Computer Specs

Your computer, whether a laptop or tower, should have these minimum specs to help ensure a good experience:

  • CPU/Processor: Intel Core i5 (or i7) that is an 8th generation or later.

  • At least 8 GB of RAM. 16 GB is preferable. Browser tabs can consume a lot of RAM.

  • A Solid State Device (SSD), not a hard drive! Most new computers have SSDs now, but a few do not. Computers that are 3-4 years old or older almost certainly do not. Those can be upgraded. The speed difference is huge!

  • More on computer specs here

 

Internet Speed

 

Even a really fast computer will putter along if your internet speed is too slow. Here are the major types of internet service in Columbia ordered from best-to-worst and who provides them:

  • Fiber: Fiber is the gold standard. It's way faster than anything else and usually offers matching upload and download speeds, known
    as symmetric service.
    Providers are CenturyLink and Socket. But only Socket* is deploying new fiber in neighborhoods in and around Columbia.

  • Cable-Based: This service is delivered via coaxial cable to your home. The provider likely has a fiber node fairly close to your home or business but the last mile (the wire that actually comes to your home or office) is a copper coax cable. The same kind of cable that connects your TV to the cable box or cable jack on the wall. Cable-based internet can have download speeds nearly as fast as fiber, but upload speeds are severely limited. That's a limitation in the technology being used.
    Providers are Mediacom and Charter/Spectrum.

  • Satellite (Starlink): SpaceX is actively deploying their (much higher speed) satellite service. Once it becomes widely available, this will be a game-changer for homes and businesses in rural areas not served by terrestrial (land-based) internet providers. Even though Starlink is technically satellite-based, its performance is far better than the older geosynchronous satellite service.
    Provider is Starlink, a part of SpaceX. Goto Starlink.com for details.

  • DSL: Like cable-based service, DSL providers likely have a fiber node near your home. But in this case, the last mile is the many decades-old twisted-pair phone line technology. DSL is by far the slowest terrestrial internet service still in fairly common use.
    Providers are CenturyLink and Socket.

  • Satellite (Geosynchronous): Well, you know what a satellite is. If you live in a more rural area (which can still be pretty close to Columbia), this may be your only choice. Satellite is very slow and has data caps. This really is the last resort.
    Providers are HughesNet and Viasat (formerly Wild Blue)

  • More on internet providers here

* Socket is lighting-up neighborhoods with fiber all over Columbia. If you'd like Socket fiber in your neighborhood, then give Socket a call and ask what it'll take to get it. Generally, if you can get a certain critical mass of neighbors to commit to subscribing to Socket fiber, then Socket may schedule your neighborhood for fiber deployment. Deploying fiber to each home is expensive so Socket understandably needs a certain level of commitment in order to justify that cost.

Wi-Fi

 

Third and final aspect to having a speedy computing and internet experience is your wi-fi system. As you know, wi-fi uses radio waves and is therefore subject to all the problems that radio waves suffer from: interference, distance, saturation (too many users), and other issues.

You can have a super fast computer or phone, fast internet, and still have a poor experience if your wi-fi is substandard. One possible answer to that is a so-called "mesh" system whereby you'll have multiple wi-fi transceivers strategically placed around your premises.

I can assist in helping to optimize all these factors to ensure you have a good experience!

More on wi-fi here
 

On the January 18, 2022 edition of Radio Friends, we discussed a few says to stay safe online.

Link on Youtube

This is my first appearance on Radio Friends. My thanks to Radio Friends for having me as a guest!

We'll be discussing basic ways to stay safe with your computer.

  • Avoid scammy emails. Be aware of scams like fake antivirus renewal notices.

  • Making sure you keep your computer updated.

  • Mobile devices are safer than a regular computer for things like banking.
    Although a regular computer can be made safer by taking precautions.